Is business leading the net-zero agenda?

The UK energy and sustainability agenda is rapidly changing, and with it the role of energy and sustainability professionals. The commitment to deliver net zero emissions has certainly presented a new challenge to navigate, and a new mandate to bring about change.

The UK government set a target of net zero GHG emissions into law in June 2019. It was the first G7 country to do so. Other countries soon followed and a recent report from the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit has found that nearly half of the world’s GDP is now generated in places where authorities have set, or intend to set, a net zero emissions target in or before 2050.

In response to these commitments, organisations are starting to plan their own net zero strategies. As a starting point, it is important for companies to define what emissions are included in the scope of their target, with particular attention given to supply chain emissions. Under the initial gap analysis, organisations may want to consider what carbon management systems they already have in place and then take the opportunity to build on these.

Emission reduction strategies will need to be flexible to allow for the direction of new government policies and the fact that new technologies could become available at scale, possibly with different solutions for different sectors.

The eagerly awaited Energy White Paper and the government response to the consultation on UK carbon pricing will provide some direction for stakeholders, once they are published. Policies are needed to meet the fourth and fifth UK carbon budgets which run from 2023 to 2032, as well as setting a direction for net zero by 2050. The required annual rate of emissions reduction for Net Zero is 50% higher than under the UK’s previous 2050 target and 30% higher than has been achieved on average since 1990. In September, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) will publish its recommendations on the UK’s sixth carbon budget, which will cover 2033 to 2037. This is the first carbon budget to be set into law following the UK’s net zero commitment.

Meanwhile, the Treasury launched a Net Zero Review last November to assess how the UK can maximise economic growth opportunities from its transformation to a green economy. It will also consider the cost impact and how to avoid carbon leakage. A final report is expected in the Autumn, ahead of the UN climate change conference, known as COP26, to be held in Glasgow.

What does this mean for energy and sustainability professionals?

The UK energy and sustainability agenda is rapidly changing, and with it the role of energy and sustainability professionals. The commitment to deliver net zero emissions has certainly presented a new challenge to navigate, and a new mandate to bring about change.

If you are or will soon be faced with this challenge, come join us and our expert panel of industry speakers for a morning on 26th March 2020 at The Royal Society, London, SW1Y 5AG for our annual conference, where you will learn:

  • What technology will come in to play and what effects will it have on the energy sector?
  • How is the UK approaching its net zero commitments and how will suppliers deliver on those targets?
  • What changes are coming and how will they affect you as an energy user?
  • And, of course, what effects does Brexit still hold for the market?
  • About a new initiative that will help those tasked with the accountability for net-zero emissions, learn from best practice, share ideas and initiate action, and crucially to bring about change

If you are an energy or sustainability end user you can register here.

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